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[ View of the centre of Montréal in 1734, three-dimensional reconstruction, Centre Canadien d'Architecture et Centre for Landscape Research, adapté par Léon Robichaud et Mathieu Bilodeau, Bibliothèque du Centre Canadien d'Architecture  ]

In order to gain an understanding of the fire that occurred in Montréal on April 10, as well as of the trial of Angélique, historians must assume the role of detective or journalist in reconstructing the train of events. Newspaper publishing was forbidden in Nouvelle-France, making the task all the more complex, since the information is dispersed among various types of archives.

Historians are required to gather all of the facts from numerous archival sources, which have been carefully preserved. They decipher the writing of the court clerk who transcribed the depositions of the witnesses and the interrogations of the accused. They flip through reports by bailiffs and correspondence from colonial authorities, read the journal of a hospitaller sister or glance at the depositions of people arrested for theft, or those of wealthy merchants who lost everything. All of the documented sources provide information, each in its own way, on the tragic events that unfolded on rue Saint-Paul. All of the witnesses related their own accounts of what they lived through, saw or heard, on the night of the fire.

You will need to take detailed notes on all of the information available, as slight as it may be, and compare it with the facts contained in other documents. It is only by sifting through the details from various sources that you, the historian or detective, will be able to reconstruct the events that took place on the night of the fire.

In order to reconstruct the events, you will need to pay close attention to the facts, actions, and, in particular, the words spoken by Angélique. You will also need to pay close attention to the testimonies of the witnesses and to the content of the depositions regarding lost or stolen property.